Madison, Wisconsin based Gloria Beachey of GloriBeeJewelry is a lifelong crafter.  But all those crafts faded from her interest when she first saw real flower resin jewelry as demonstrated by Becky Nunn of Nunn Design back in 2016. She then started making her own.

Her designs often feature the smallest of organics.  I was particularly fascinated with her tiny real mushroom designs.  I do see mushrooms in my garden after rainy weather but they are usually quite large. So Gloria's dainty designs, which also include those with real flowers, are truly noteworthy as it takes effort to find the small specimens! And patience to work with said specimens. 

Gloria explained :
My husband and I select flowers from along the roadsides, in friends' and relatives' gardens as well as growing a few ourselves. One of my sisters finds mushrooms in the woods around her house in Oklahoma and shares them with me. 

I'm often asked where I find such small flowers. Surprisingly, many are simply individual blossoms that grow in a large cluster. I marvel at what I find when I take the time to look closely.
That last phrase "take the time to look closely" is key to finding the right sized organics. Having made real flower jewelry myself (see tutorials below), I find that is so true. Walking and looking around slowly and getting down close to examine potential specimens is essential.

Gloria often adds bits of fern, moss and probably lichen to her tiny mushroom designs giving them a wonderfully woodsy look. 

She uses all kinds of frames, mostly metal ones but she also has some wooden frames like these below for an almost all organic style.  That is how I discovered Gloria's shop - she bought some of my laser cut wood frames and I checked out her store!

The World of Fungi

Fungi are neither plants or animals and are biologically classified as a separate kingdom. They include yeasts, molds and the more familiar, mushrooms. Mushrooms are actually the "fruit" of fungi - they bear the spores, growing above ground from a huge and unseen underground network of fine fungal filaments called a mycelium

Fungi are incredibly significant for humans. Watch this trailer from the excellent documentary Fantastic Fungi : The Magic Beneath Us about how mushrooms can save the world.  I watched it on Netflix. 

Yeasts have been used by humans for thousands of years to bake bread, brew beer and wine and ferment foods like soya sauce. We use fungi to flavor blue cheeses like Stilton. The enzymes used in our detergents are produced by fungi. There are fungi which can potentially help us breakdown the huge pile of plastic waste we generate.  Most of the plastics we use are not recyclable. Fungi could also become the fabric of the future - Mylo vegan leather, for e.g. is made from fungal mycelium. Scientific American reports :  "The mycelium technology is upon us" - growing many things for us from more plant based food to the scaffolding needed to grow organs. 

We use them industrially to make antibiotics, vitamins, some anti-cancer and cholesterol lowering drugs. Cyclosporin, a fungus first found in Norwegian woodland in 1970, is now used as a natural drug to prevent rejection in organ transplants and treat other conditions.

There are some downsides. Some fungal species can adversely affect grain crops and thus humans. One well known fungus, Claviceps purpurea, can grow on rye and other grains and produce ergot toxins which causes ergotism. This condition was common during Medieval times as the poor population ate mostly rye bread which were contaminated with the fungus following wet weather. The symptoms include convulsive movements, spasms and pain in the extremities, hence its other name, St Anthony's Fire. Convulsive ergotism has been thought to be the impetus behind the Salem Witch Trials in 1692

The convulsions of ergotism could be strong enough to cause pregnant women to miscarry. Historians  discovered midwives from 1500's- 1800's fed the fungus or ergots to pregnant women to induce labor. The practice stopped because of the risk of side effects such as uterine rupture, especially when safe dosages were not known back then. Yet, today doctors sometimes use ergotamine to prevent postpartum hemorrhage and for acute migraine attacks. 

We still know so little about fungi and we need to learn more because they could well help us in more ways than we know. 

Stephen Axford's beautiful time lapse of mushrooms growing for the Fantastic Fungi documentary :

Before You Go:

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Original Post by THE BEADING GEM